Friday, May 29, 2009

This Day in Music History

May 29 is a busy day in music history:
  1. The Rite of Spring premiered in Paris in 1913.
  2. Bing Crosby recorded White Christmas
  3. Birthdays: Iannis Xenakis, Danny Elfman, LaToya Jackson, Mellisa Etheridge, and Noel Gallager.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bass photo of the week (May 25)

This is a picture of the scroll of Charles Mingus' bass. The photo is by (I think) William Ellis. There are lots of great photos on his web site.

Twitter tips for Musicians

I found this post interesting. I've only recently started using Twitter in any real sense. I'm still trying to "find my voice" with Twitter, not to mention my audience.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Charles Mingus Sings

I love this video.

In an unrelated note, today is Marc Ribot's birthday and the anniversary of the passing of Vaughn Monroe.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pop's Foster

I didn't have a chance to write about it, but Monday (May 19th) was Pops Foster's birthday (1892-1969). In my opinion, he has one of the great early jazz and blues bassists who helped develop the slap technique that was taken to new levels by Milt Hinton and others. He originally played in New Orleans, later moving on to working in the rhythm sections of Earl Hines and Sidney Bechet. I've always thought of him as one of the "unrecognized greats" of bass playing.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Writing Music In Your Dreams

I recently came across this article from a 2006 issue of Consciousness and Cognition. in some of my other research. From the abstract (my emphasis):

Music in dreams is rarely reported in scientific literature, while the presence of musical themes in dreams of famous musicians is anecdotally reported. We did a systematic investigation to evaluate whether the occurrence of musical dreams could be related to musical competence and practice, and to explore specific features of dreamt pieces. Thirty-five professional musicians and thirty non-musicians filled out a questionnaire about the characteristics of their musical activity and a structured dream log on the awakening for 30 consecutive days. Musicians dream of music more than twice with respect to non-musicians; musical dreams frequency is related to the age of commencement of musical instruction, but not to the daily load of musical activity. Nearly half of the recalled music was non-standard, suggesting that original music can be created in dreams.

A lesson from Milt Hinton

Milt Hinton is one of my favorite bassists. Here's a lesson from him from YouTube. I particularly like his "solo" and his comments that precede it about the need for bassists to have a lot of stamina.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13th Birthdays

Gil Evans, Red Garland, and Stevie Wonder. Today also marks the anniversary of Bob Wills' death.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuff Bag Review (Better than Moorodian?)

After about 12 years, I decided to replace my well-worn, ripped, and beaten Moorodian bass case. I had originally thought of replacing it with another Moorodian, but thought of looking around a bit. I had seen the Ritter cases, but didn’t really liked the way they fit around the instrument. (They seem to be too big and don’t have the padding of the Moorodian.)

After some looking around and some discussions with Steve at the String Emporium (from whom I purchased a Finale bow), I decided to try a Tuff-Bag. Steve insisted that they were as good as Moorodian, and less expensive.

When I received the bag, I was a bit surprised: it looks almost exactly like my old Moorodian bag (sans the rips and holes). The material feels the same, although this is a bit hard to judge given the years on my Moorodian. The padding seems to be about 1 inch and there are ample carrying straps.

The Tuff-Bag has the same set of front pockets: a bow pocket large enough to fit bow in a case and two accessory pockets. The back pocket (where most people put their sheet music) is divided, having a stitch down one side thereby providing a pocket large enough to fit your music folder and a smaller pocket (where I keep various notebooks).

The first thing to go on my Moorodian (many years ago) was the zipper. So that was the first thing I checked on the Tuff-Bag. I'm happy to say that the Tuff-Bag zippers are strong and double stiched in place. Moroever, the Tuff-Bag bag has padding between the main zippers and all points at which the zipper could come in contact with the instrument. This is somewhat different than my old Moorodian which only had padding between the instrument and the zipper on one side (where the longest zipper is) and then only until about halfway down the lower bout.

Overall, I'm very impressed with the Tuff-Bag. The true test will come when I look back (maybe in another 15 years) at how the bag held up.

Monday, May 4, 2009

New Guitar Hero Bass Controller

I was forwarded this by a friend. It seems that the makers of Guitar Hero and Rockband have come up with something to satisfy those of us playing the double bass.

Happy Birthday Ron Carter!

Today is Ron Carter's 72nd birthday. I've always been a huge Ron Carter fan. I love his phrasing and his ability to choose notes and rhythms in a walking bass line that literally drive the line forward, embedding a song with an emotional foundation.

I recently read his biography (by Dan Ouellette). I've thought about writing a review of the book, but have avoided it. Overall, I liked the book, but the book never grabbed my like other biographies and autobiographies (e.g., those of Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Miles Davis). At times, the book painted Mr. Carter as a bit of a curmudgeon who feels slighted by his position in the jazz community. Many years ago I had the opportunity to see a masterclass by Mr. Carter and had a short conversation with him (maybe five minutes). The masterclass demonstrated his incredible technique and his desire to help others. In the conversation, he was friendly, kind and funny. The book tells a great story, but I felt it left out some of the story of Ron Carter. At times, the book seems like a laundry list of recordings and accomplishments, without telling the story of Ron.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bass photo of the week (May 3)

Here's an ad for Polytone that I came across featuring Ray Brown.